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2015-02-10 Table Topics Contest

Today, we held our Table Topics contest, organized and led by our very enthusiastic and capable VIce President of Education, Firoozeh, pictured below on the left with our Club President, Jill.

Erin served as Chief Judge.

Erik is a member and also serves as Area 21 Governor.

Here are our fabulous contestants, left to right: Leo (2nd place winner), Jill (1st place winner), Rachael (winner), and Jyothi (winner). Well done everyone!

If you wonder why everyone is a "winner," it is because we sincerely believe that the contest is not about competing "against" anyone, but about competing "with" others to bring out the best in all. That way, we are all winners.

Details of the Contest

by Firoozeh

Message Masters Table Topics contest

11:45. All judges, officials and contestants were in our meeting room, all except for Leonardo, one of the contestants.

The Chief Judge, Erin, was briefing the three judges, ballot counter and timer. Two of the Judges were from other clubs. Rana served as both Timer and Ballot Counter. Erin handed out the judge’s guide and ballot, timer record sheet and counter tally sheet. She had all the eligibility forms ready.

Firoozeh, the Contest Chair, was eyeing the clock. It was 11:50. Leonardo hadn’t showed up, but the show must go on, so she started briefing of Sergeant at Arms, Fedra, and the other contestants. The briefing included drawing lots for speaking order: 1- Rachael 2- Jyothi 3- Leonardo and 4- Jill

It was 11:58. All briefings were finished. Fedra stepped to the lectern and with a warm smile announced, “I’ll hit the gavel at 12:00 sharp.”

11:59. Suddenly the door knob slowly turned. LEONARDO! Fedra rapped the gavel to open the Message Masters 2015 Table Topics contest. She welcomed everybody and introduced the Contest Chair, Firoozeh.

The contest continued by welcoming our Area 21 Governor, Erik Borgersen, and other participants. Then she emphasized the importance of impromptu speaking skills. Erin described the judging criteria. At 12:13, Fedra escorted all the contestants except Rachael to the corridor. Rachael remained at the back of the room. As Firoozeh called her name and read the topic, Fedra also showed Rachael a printed copy of it:

“Nowadays, are children as respectful as they were when you were 15 years old? Why?”

Rachael proceeded to the front of the room and presented her response. The procedure repeated in the same way for Jyothi, Leo and Jill.

Once the judges finished completing their ballots, Rana and Erin collected them and left the room to count the score. Meanwhile, Firoozeh invited the contestants for an interview.

Jyothi spoke about her favourite quotation from Albert Einstein, “There are only two ways to lead your life: one as though everything in life is miracle and other as if nothing in life is a miracle.” Jyothi said she believes in miracles and shared her story of starting work in the Government of Canada as a new immigrant.

Jill said she always looks at everything from a positive perspective. She shared her recent experience about a competition for a promotion at work. For unknown reasons, they cancelled the exam and obviously the results. Although she was among the successful candidates, she looked at it in a positive way. Now she continues to prepare for the next exam.

Rachael described how great ideas that she reads or hears inspire her. Firoozeh added that one of Rachael’s speeches inspired her.

Leonardo described a Latin quote, “Verba volant, scripta manent,” which means “spoken words fly away, but what is written stays.” He said he really believes in this quote. He added we might say many things, but until they are on paper, they can’t be taken seriously.

The contestants each received a Certificate of Participation as a memento of the contest. Rana and Erin returned to the room. Firoozeh announced the results:

Second place winner: Leonardo
First place winner: Jill!

We cheered the winners. We believe everyone is a winner, just for participating, as a contestant, as a contest official, or taking it all in as a member of the audience.

The contest was a success for the whole club. We worked as a team to make it happen, so we’re also winners of each other in this fine team. We gave ourselves a cheer and closed the meeting with taking photos.


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